February 2011
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Month February 2011

China GDP on minus 3.5%?

China is depleting the non-renewable aquifers of its northern plains at an alarming place, and faces a separate water crisis from receding Himalayan glaciers.

Cheng Siwei, the head of China’s green energy drive says the eco-damage of 13.5pc of GDP each year outstrips China’s growth rate of 10pc. “We have an intangible environmental debt that we are leaving to our children,” he said. That debt is already due.

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Free membership for under 30s & students rest of 2011?

Give new Young Greens free membership all of 2011. Labour
are charging 1 pence till Sept. Let’s campaign in colleges,
campuses & Unis & take our total party membership
to 20,000 & become a real opposition. That will send
shivers in the Lib-Dems and we will scare New Ed’s Labour
too.

Students in 2011

How fickle we can all be.
Students didn’t figure in the imagination of the many political bloggers early in 2010. Then, ‘newboy’ Clegg caught the wave and it seemed if he would storm home with the votes of the Next Generation.
It lasted two weeks and that tide ebbed. Some did vote for him, then regretted it.
Students were dumped once again, until suddenly they tore up the (non)plan by the (non)opposition and took to the streets.
Suddenly, everyone wanted to be best friends with students and re-live 1968.
The big Unions decided to plan one day of protests six months ahead. Students were light years ahead in their planning and just got on with it – a bit like Arab protestors ignoring the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and instead flood the streets and face up to the riot police.
2011 however sees a return of the cynicism against students with proclamations of the death of the movement.
Just before the apparent last rites however the departure of New Labour Aaron Porter shows the heart of the movement is still beating. That under the surface things are bubbling.
So many people are trying to advise or co-opt the student movement. I think it should be the other way round.
The last six months has shown the value of non-hierarchical movements, like multi-headed hydras (impossible to decapitate) across Europe and North Africa.
Surely the TUC should be given equal billing (as in shoulder to shoulder) to the students, rather than what I am hearing is a lot of control-freakery about which stations to get off and which roads to take.
My hunch is that March 26th will be a one day roaring success and then we will be asked to focus on the wedding dress of you know who.
There is no sign of anything post March 26th. Having Ed Miliband on the stage fills me with a sense of …. being underwhelmed.
New Labour isn’t going to hijack a movement which wants radical change.
I bet the students will return to prominence. Earlier than expected.

Protest against NHS Cuts

Friday 11th February
5pm onwards at the Royal London Hospital E1

Join the protest against BLT’s plan to axe services and jobs
· 250 nurses, 83 other clinical posts including doctor time
· in total 630 jobs to go
· 100 beds to close

Defend our NHS in Tower Hamlets
· 500 jobs gone at local NHS Primary Care Trusts
· cuts at Mile End
· across London up to 50% cuts in community health services such as
district nursing
· mental health services expect huge cuts
· over £100M a year to go as payment to the private company running the
new PFI hospital while services are being cut.

David Cameron misled us before the 2010 election when he said that NHS
funding would be protected. 120,000 jobs are under threat, with £14 billion
NHS cuts over three years. Privatisation races ahead.
Local council cuts attack home care, housing and services for those most in need.

Protest against NHS Cuts

A prominent left-of-centre blogger says the ‘student
movement is already losing steam’ and berating the excellent
Commentator, Paul Mason. I think it’s much too early to be writing
off the Next Generation. How many bloggers predicted the stunning
show of strength by students late last year ? I think some are
hoping to rope in the students into more conventional top down
channels. That would be a mistake. It’s for the rest of us to
produce an equally powerful movement in parallel to the students
before we pronounce their demise. This is not a flash in the
pan.

Club Med model of protest

The Mediterranean is deciding the future it seems.
Greece lit the fuse as ordinary people, especially the young, threw off their mental shackles, ignored the co-opted Trade Union leaders and took to the streets
The students in London, perhaps without realizing, perhaps some did, took the same path: ditch ‘leaders’ and just get on with putting a few placards together, connect up with friends and walk in the middle of a road toward a point of authority.
This multi-headed hydra (literally with tens of thousands of leaders) is impossible to decapitate.
This is what’s happening on the southern Mediterranean shores as well as it’s northern coasts.
It will spread to Italy as well as Spain over the next few months.
The demands are simple, the strategy is raw but the impact is devastating.
Twenty years on, the centre of gravity of popular rebellion has shifted from Eastern Europe to the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, northern Europe watches.

One in ten suffer from learning difficulties

I am at a Dyslexia conference. It’s well attended but there are no poliicians nor are there head teachers.
There are so many people affected by this learning difficulty that to fit them in London it would mean Zone1,2,3 and 4 filled completely.
It affects one in 10.
Yet there is no profile. It’s hidden.
For a so called knowledge economy in London, we cannot leave behind 800,000 people.
Think of the cost to the economy of not helping them to fulfil their potential.
Billions.
And the heartache for parents.

Teachers are stressed. We have to ally with them in reducing their bureaucratic burden such as the campaign to get rid of SATS, reduce targets and return responsibility to them.
Then they will feel they can cooperate in paying attention to 3 pupils in every classroom.
Politicians better pour resources not cut.